thunder

and katydids—
tonight’s soup


From photo to haiku draft to Instagram post in the course of an hour, sitting out on the porch sans internet except for my phone. My first go at a haiku was wordier, and I liked it almost as much:

a growl of thunder…
katydids go on playing
their self-instruments

By sheer coincidence, this fits the 5-7-5 syllable pattern that defines English-language haiku in the popular imagination. I believe the draft I went with is much more in the mainstream haiku tradition of preserving openness to multiple interpretations. But the earlier effort is suggestive, too, just on a more metaphorical plane.

rain still falling from the trees

wood thrush song


A nano-puddle in a fallen oak leaf. A wood thrush was singing while I crouched to get the shot. I was working with a much broader crop when the limitations of the free Snapseed app—most of the best font options, including this one, don’t permit line breaks—led me to experiment with bleed-through of contrasting colors at ~50% opacity to emphasize the semantic break.

spring sunset

Partly blue sky with dark clouds awash in orange-pink.

more of a comment
than a question


We have barred owls who often call at sunset (and at other random times throughout the day and night) so I started out thinking about that who and went from there. The result being itself a bit of a head-scratcher is, to my way of thinking, permissibly self-reflexive.

As it happens, while I was composing this, sitting on a bench near what we call the Far Field and thinking about barred owls, one of them let out a loud who from a hundred yards away. If I thought more readers would be familiar with the birders’ mnemonic for its full call, I might have gone with my penultimate draft:

spring sunset
who cooks
for you all

pruning season

View across a two-lane road of rows of recently pruned, bare fruit trees under a powerline with steel pylons.

the angel of history’s
prosthetic wings


When there’s too much to fit into a haiku — the giant pylons, each tree’s signature of knots, the scream of a red-tailed hawk circling low overhead — my instinct is to reach for some unifying symbol. The Biden administration’s apparent decision to double down on our forever wars has been preying on my mind.

Made in Snapseed with a font that’s only supposed to be used for single lines of text, but since it looks so handwritten, it’s not imperative to get each line exactly the same height, so saving one line at a time more or less works.